I'm sitting in the law school library computer lab while my computer is being fixed by our fabulous ITC staff. PS why are there so many people in the library right now? Looks like mostly law review cite checks and papers. Ouch.
Anyway, my laptop's ethernet port stopped working about a year ago. Then in the fall the sound stopped working. The law school ITC people performed a battery of tests, and then sent me to Cavalier Computers. CC performed a series of tests and sent me back to the law school people. I think we've finally arrived at a solution: it's a software problem. Time to REFORMAT the hard drive!
Why is that such a scary concept to me? Something about deleting everything on your entire hard drive is just freaky. Am I sure I saved all my photos? Do I have all my mp3s backed up? Where did I put all my disks? What if I lose my address book?
There's just something frightening about starting over. Which of course got me to thinking about graduation, moving, and moving on. So much of my identity is tied up in certain people; okay, let's be honest, a certain person. And certain friends. And so much of my identity is tied up in this place, here in Charlottesville. What happens when I move on? Will I lose some of my identity? What will I be without these things?
I recently joined Facebook. I was startled to see what has become of some of my childhood and high school friends. It's fascinating to see where people live, what they do for a living, how they look, and what their passions are. This has obviously made me even more reflective about my life and how I have changed over the past couple of decades. I guess I've changed a lot, but since the changes happen so slow, I didn't even notice them.
For example, I'm graduating from law school. People are constantly congratulating me on my "big accomplishment." I know in my head it's a big accomplishment, but it doesn't feel like it. I've just taken one class at a time, one assignment at a time. All of a sudden I'm done!
As another example, I'm moving to New York in the fall. This has been a long, drawn-out decision for me, carefully considered and made. But to others who have spent their whole lives in the east Bay Area, and who haven't seen me or heard from me in years, this seems like a huge step.
I mean, since most of those friends saw me, I became fluent in Spanish, I got married, I made some lifelong friends, I learned to like green beans, I lived in a foreign country for two years, I wrote a senior Linguistics thesis on "pop versus soda," I gained a sense of fashion, I became president of a non-profit music organization, I produced a highly acclaimed album, I got a young man acquitted on DUI charges, and I tried sushi. Graduating from law school is just one thing among many!
So as I sit here reformatting my computer, I'm realizing that we all sometimes have to re-format ourselves. At certain times in our lives, we delete some things about our lives in order to restore ourselves to a better state.
But that doesn't mean we have to forget. Or even that we have regrets. Sometimes it's just time to move on. I'll still keep my photos, my address book, and my memories. I'll carry lessons learned and friendships earned.
But it's about time for my laptop and me to get a fresh start.